Former Australian wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist has said that South African cricketer Quinton de Kock’s decision to opt out of the game against West Indies in the T20 World Cup on Tuesday was not on account of him not supporting “people of colour within that country”.
Minutes before the toss in the ‘Super 12’ game, which the Proteas won by eight wickets, de Kock made himself unavailable for selection. The news came after Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a statement saying that all players should take the knee before their remaining T20 World Cup matches in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
De Kock was one of a number of South Africa players who had not been taking the knee ahead of recent internationals, including the team’s tournament-opener against Australia, with some players kneeling, some raising a fist and some standing.
The inconsistencies with the way players have been acknowledging a stance against racism was one of the reasons CSA issued the clear directive to its team.
But Gilchrist told SEN’s Whateley on Wednesday morning that, “It seems Quinton de Kock is very active in being pro-Black Lives Matter, and supporting people of colour within that country. I think the gesture, if it’s going to help people move forward and heal, and create a stronger future, is probably worth doing.
“For Quinton, it’s about being told he has to do something when he doesn’t necessarily feel he needs to do it, that it’s become a bit tokenistic,” added the Australian legend.
A South African sports journalist Lungani Zama has been quoted as saying that de Kock’s decision to stand down “reflects his perspective on the cricketing bureaucracy, not the movement”.
“The timing of it could have been a lot better, given the amount of time South Africa have had to take a definitive, collective stance,” Zama, a Guardian contributor, told SEN Breakfast.
“If you’re asking me if Quinton de Kock is racist or against Black Lives Matter, I’ll unequivocally say no,” said Zama, adding, “I know him personally, and I know the work he’s done to improve the lives and experiences of black players and black people around him, for years. From my conversations with him, he sees it as a token gesture which has been watered down to almost mean nothing.”
Going forward, Zama said that it would be much better if individuals could “settle on a comfortable decision for themselves”.
“I do completely agree that it’s a much more worthwhile and meaningful journey if the individual is able to learn what they can, and settle on a comfortable decision for themselves. Rather than being forced, and ramrodded down a particular policy that has clearly been made on the run.”